Under a heavy daze I held the baby to my breast-implant-lookalikes, and like I’d seen on tv started to feed him. If we lived in caveman days (and I wasn’t a vet) I definitely would not have known what to do. But he knew exactly what to do (thankfully) and gulped down his colostrum while I was high as a kite falling asleep and waking up shocked each time that he was still in my arms. How did he not fall yet? I was literally just completely knocked out. It was a miracle that he didn’t fall that night but has since fallen many, many times (not my fault though, he’s a beast).
The next morning I started to feel a bit more alive, but with life came all of the pain. Visual pain too, when you see the compression stockings you have to wear to prevent blood clots, oh and your stomach…just don’t look down. The only thing I can compare it to is a balls sac. Imagine your entire stomach looks like one big balls sac. Again, looking into the mirror should be avoided at all costs no matter what because hot mess doesn’t even begin to describe your situation at that point in time. Unless it’s just me, in which case I am glad I didn’t leave the house for a while after those sad struggles. I called my doctor the day after the c-section who said that I had to stay another night in hospital. I said no thanks, I’m going home now, and we left. Friends came over and I could see the look of dread on their faces when they saw my condition. Secretly I thought, I cannot wait for their turn muhaha.
I made Quasimodo look like an eligible bachelor for longer than I’d like to admit and genuinely thought I’d never leave the house again. The hunchback was here to stay and couldn’t even sit to weewee alone – you have to have someone hold you and you plop down onto the toilet seat BAM, ouch, every single time. Oh and wiping is a serious struggle too so make sure your man/woman/whoever isn’t too scornful. Those awful diapers become your bestest friends only second to those pain relief tablets that don’t even work that well but are better than nothing. Laughing hurts so much that you almost forget how to do it after the first few weeks while your uterus tries to figure out what the hell just happened, your brain is in shock (influenced no doubt by those terrible hormones) and then the baby…well the baby cries, which also doesn’t contribute to your sanity.
In fact, you may go quite insane.
Breastfeeding is supposed to be this incredibly important bonding experience for your baby etc etc…but I don’t think that includes if your baby is a shark. Mine was a great white. The pain of breastfeeding was doing quite the opposite of bonding for me. I avoided it like the plague. Nah he’s not hungry, he just needs a change…he just needs to burp…okay maybe he just needs a hug? A kiss? PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME FEED HIM AGAIN. I cried every single time he came close to my boobs and I felt so guilty. Why does it hurt this much? Bleeding, scabbing, it was God awful. My mum squeezed my hand every time I had to feed him to try to divert the pain but nothing worked, nipple creams included. We got a very lovely lady to come over to help make sure he was latching correctly because that apparently a thing too and he was, but like I said…baby shark (do do da do do do). Also, when you breastfeed, your uterus contracts so its double-trouble pain wise. Not what you see on tv, unfortunately. And I couldn’t help the anger I felt that no one had warned me of this before hand. My mom now decided to tell me, “Oh yes I’m writing a book about pregnancy called ‘Did they tell you about the hemmorhoids?’…” Now you tell me? Bit late.
A few days of total exhaustion, abdominal pain, boob pain and guilty thoughts passed by and then one night I started to shake. I had fever, a headache, was shaking beyond my control and was in severe pain. Back to the hospital we went and I thought, who will I have to sell my soul to, to ever pay this off? I had a uterine infection and had to stay in the hospital overnight for IV fluids and antibiotics. I missed Charlie so much and thought what will he eat? Will he starve as his fat deposits deplete? But my boobs breathed a sigh of relief and I wondered if they were up to all this. A nurse came in somewhere in the night to administer my antibiotics and I felt ‘gloop gloop gloop’ where the catheter was inserted into my vein. My eyes shot to the IV line and it was filled with air bubbles. I quickly pinched the line, this was a no entry for air on my watch. WHY IS THERE AIR IN THE LINE? FLUSH THIS LINE RIGHT NOW PLEASE. “Oh gosh darlin it takes like 30 ml of air to die from an embolism you know!” Now I don’t know if that’s right, nor do I care, but I did fail a practical exam in vet school once because I had THE TINIEST air bubble in my line by accident, and I never made that mistake again. I don’t CARE. FLUSH THE LINE NOW LADY.
I spent the entire rest of the night bawling that Charlie would grow up motherless, and for that matter parentless, because they were definitely gonna kill me one way or another in this hospital. Every time someone entered the room I flew up to check exactly what they were doing. I wasn’t going down like this. After another sleepless night, I returned home to the little man who was now happily drinking formula from a bottle. I whispered goodbye to my short lived boobs. I looked at him drinking from the bottle and felt that love again…never thought I could love plastic that much.
As the weeks passed by, my balls sac stomach started to decrease in size and the cabin fever had reached the point where if I didn’t go out into the world I’d enter another spiral. It felt nice to finally be out and about again like the old pre-baby days, only a lot more stressful in case Charlie got hungry, did a stinky poop among the coffee drinkers or the burst-your-eardrum squeal for no apparent reason. How was such a small creature capable of reaching such decibels? But it beat staying home. Bullseye left for good after a particularly unpleasant event and exactly what I thought would happen, happened.
I was officially a single mother.
Charlie was almost 3 months old by then and I was dying to go back to work to feel some sense of purpose. Except, on the day that I was supposed to start my new job that I’d been discussing with the employer for 6 months prior, I was told that they can no longer hire me. It hit me like a brick wall. This was the thing I was looking forward to. This was the thing that kept me going. The excitement of starting a new job, finally being able to practice again. I was dying to be back in a clinic. I wept.
This can’t be happening.
At least I had my kids. Below.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”